Stress often sneaks up on us from caregiving for loved ones. When you are feeling overwhelmed, consider trying a few of these techniques to lift yourself out of that funk.

1. Try deep breathing

Taking deep breaths increases the amount of oxygen in your blood which helps you relax. Take it one step further, sit down on the floor or in a chair, keep you back straight, bring your hands together in front of your heart, close your eyes and then take slow deep breaths in and out for a minute. Not ready to breath? Then just try counting to 10 first.

2. Visualize calm or create a mantra

When you feel tension start to rise in you, close your eyes and think of a place that relaxes you and visualize being there. This could be the beach, a bath or just watching the sunset – whatever makes you happy and calm. Not working? Consider a “chant” that you can do in your head or say softly, like “I feel calm and I can handle this” and repeat it at least 10 times.

3. Give yourself a massage

Although going to the spa is lovely, consider a home foot massager or just rubbing your earlobes.

4. Smile

…often by putting on a positive attitude, our bodies will respond in kind.

5. Write it down or talk to someone

Getting out how you are feeling by talking or writing on paper helps you release your pent up feelings. It also gives you perspective on what is bothering you so you can address those concerns.

6. Test out a diffuser

Aromatherapy has been shown to help folks relax. Consider essential oils like lavender, peppermint, rose, and eucalyptus.

7. Shake it off or just dance to a little music

We carry a lot of our stress in our neck and shoulders, just shake out our neck and arms can help reduce physical tightness. Take it a step further and consider yoga, gentle stretching or tai chi. Just 10 minutes of exercise each day can help.

United Zion provides various care services in our Lititz, PA retirement community, including: long-term skilled nursing care services, short-term rehabilitation care, and personal care services.

See more about reducing long-term caregiver stress.

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